TUCSON, Ariz. — By the time Oregon State got its offense going in the second half last Saturday night, it was already down by four touchdowns to Arizona.
The Beavers finally got the run game on track in the third quarter after the pass started clicking.
The improvement didn’t result in a wild comeback win for the Beavers, who dropped a 49-28 Pac-12 decision to the Wildcats to fall to 0-7 in conference play.
But the Beavers (1-9 overall) did score four touchdowns in the half.
The offense thrived after some halftime adjustments.
“There were times there again where we wanted to run the ball and that’s what we did and sometimes it got away from it, but we were able to get back to it,” interim coach Cory Hall said.
“It proves time and time again. You saw Thomas Tyner starting to put forth that effort. You feed him the ball. You put the ball in the hand of your playmakers.”
Tyner had 42 yards on seven carries and Ryan Nall led the team with 95 yards on 22 attempts. The Beavers finished with 151 yards.
While the Beavers are always looking to grind away on the ground, it was the pass that loosened up the Wildcats.
Darell Garretson completed 16 of 28 passes for 209 yards and four touchdowns and the Beavers finished with 360 total yards after going into the half with 82.
Nall said the Wildcats stacked the box with nine defenders and the Beavers had a rough time dealing with the formation in the first half.
“In the second half we came out and we were able to throw the ball a little bit successfully to open up the run game and I think we came out and really laid it out there," Nall said. "We’re not going to quit, we don’t have that mentality, we’re never going to.
“For us to bounce back like that and see the production that we had, it’s frustrating to know that if we had done that all four quarters, we could have walked out of here with a win.”
On defense, the Beavers really never found a way to deal with Arizona’s run game, which piled up a school-record 534 yards and seven touchdowns. It was led by quarterback Khalil Tate’s 206 yards and two touchdowns.
“You saw Arizona run weakside and you saw Cal run weakside,” Hall said. “So at some point you have to look elsewhere and adjust and put players in a better situation. So we have to do better and it has to be top priority.”
Hall put himself and the staff on notice for the final two games.
“I have faith that the last two weeks as a staff, we’ll give the players what they need. We’ll be better,” he said.
“As a staff, I expect us to show up and work. Show up and do our job. And our job is to ensure that our players have a fighting chance. That’s always my top priority but there’s a sense of urgency now for that.”
It’s possible that Hall will get even more involved with the defense.
That’s an idea that linebacker Kee Whetzel supports.
“Just because he has the experience, he played in the NFL, he played defense,” Whetzel said. “So just for him to be able to be more hands on with our defense, I think that will help a little bit. But at the end of the day I felt we had a good scheme, we just didn’t execute.”
Yanni Demogerontas came in for Sumner Houston on OSU’s second drive of the game. Houston was flagged for a false start on the first possession.
Demogerontas got significant playing time in the previous game at California.
Wallace leaves program
Christian Wallace was given his release from the program during the week.
Wallace never settled in at cornerback for the Beavers.
Johnson stays home
Trevorris Johnson did not make the trip to Arizona after Hall suspended him earlier in the week.
Hall wanted to gather more information as of Thursday and eventually made the decision to keep Johnson in Corvallis.
Alex Bland took on punting duties for the Beavers in place of Nick Porebski, who had been struggling.
Bland averaged 37.2 yards on six punts and had a long kick of 51 yards. He dropped two inside the 20.